Fil-Am lawyer David Lat remains in critical condition, given ‘experimental’ drug therapy

New York continues to grapple with skyrocketing coronavirus cases and because of the spiking numbers, the state launched earlier this week a clinical trial for an experimental drug treatment to heal those who are critically ill.

Fil-Am lawyer David Lat shares a photo of him on March 20 using a ventilator after being admitted to the hospital for COVID-19. | Photo courtesy of David Lat/Facebook

One of those patients in critical condition is Filipino American lawyer David Lat, who has been intubated on a ventilator and sedated inside the NYU Langone hospital, according to his mother Dr. Zenda Garcia Lat.

In an update to family and friends through social media, Dr. Lat said that her son’s doctors have put him “on Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin and an experimental drug to ease the inflammation in his lungs which are heavily damaged.”

“It will take a while before we really see much progress but at least, he is stable. Hopefully, he will put up a good fight,” she said. “It has indeed been a very difficult and trying time for us, especially because we cannot see him at all and it takes a lot before we get through to anyone in the ICU to get updates.”

The federal government cleared the way for New York to experiment with the malaria and lupus drug hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic Zithromax (generic name azithromycin) as a treatment for COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said over the weekend.

David’s husband Zachary Shemtob is recovering and their 2-year-old son, Harlan is with Lat’s parents, Emmanuel and Zenaida, who are both doctors. They are not allowed to visit Lat at the hospital because of the very contagious virus.

According to Shemtob, the doctors at NYU Langone are also treating him with an IL 6-inhibitor to fight the inflammation of Lat’s lungs.

Lat, author and the founder of the legal blog Above the Law, has been hospitalized since March 16 due to a COVID-19 infection.

The 44-year-old lawyer experienced intermittent fevers, joint aches, chills, fatigue and coughing for more than a week. He went to the emergency room on March 15 because by this time, he was already having difficulty breathing.

“By Monday 3/16, I couldn’t breathe again. I rushed back to the ER – and this time they were on their game. They admitted me, gave me oxygen, put me in an isolation room – and FINALLY gave me the coronavirus test,” Lat wrote on Twitter on March 18.


In an interview with the New York Law Journal, Shemtob said he was told about his husband waking up Saturday, despite being under sedation, by an attending nurse at the hospital. The nursing staff then asked Lat to go back and get more rest.

Last week, Lat documented his experience with the virus in a series of tweets on Twitter, giving it the hashtag of #LivingWithCovid. His latest tweet was on March 18, a comparative graph showing various countries and how many coronavirus tests were done per one million people.

Dr. Lat called on for more prayers for her son, as she thanked acquaintances, friends and family who have been sending them prayers and good wishes.

“Thank you so much for your outpouring of prayers for David, your kind thoughts and well wishes. It brings us a lot of comfort and we truly appreciate it,” Dr. Lat said, adding that they are also mourning the loss of four of their physician colleagues back in the Philippines.

Shemtob also expressed his thanks to everyone, including “people we don’t even know who have been touched in some way by this.”

“We appreciate everyone’s love and thoughts and prayers,” he said. “I just want to stress again, for folks to stay safe and to stop congregating together, to please take this stuff seriously.”

Momar G. Visaya

Momar G. Visaya is the Executive Editor of the Asian Journal. You can reach him at [email protected].

  1. Stay blessed. Praying for you. Please pull through this. Sending love. Stay strong.

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